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Parshas Pinchas: The Zealotry of Pinchas vs. the Vigilantism of Shimon and Levi

The question comes up as to why Pinchas is considered a hero, while earlier in Jewish history, Shimon and Levi received an angry rebuke from Jacob — for avenging the rape of their sister Dinah by the prince of Shechem.

Briefly, Pinchas was motivated purely by God — not ego, pride or anger. But some anger was involved in the actions of Simeon and Levi; there was an element of vigilantism.
It was an act of righteousness when Pinchas drove the spear into the genitals of Zimri (Jewish man) and Cozbi (Midianite idol-worshiping princess) while they were copulating.

These two defiled a holy act and used the defilement of a holy act to shame and disgrace the Jewish people and destroy our relationship with God, which is spiritually likened to a husband-wife relationship.

In fact the word “Ba’al” in Hebrew which many know of as the idol, actually means both “master” and “husband.” It is a term of endearment between God and the Jewish people when the Jewish people are in obeisance to Him.

There is a commentary that says Pinchas, who was blessed with the priesthood for his zealotry for God, lived 400 years and was also Elijah the Prophet.

That says something about how great he was.

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.

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